Kantar poll gives first Tory lead for two months – or does it?

Kantar TNS has published its first British voting intention poll since June’s General Election, and has made some headlines for showing the first Conservative lead in any poll since late September. The four-point gap for the ruling party over the Labour opposition is, however, something of a product of the turnout model adopted by Kantar. Before weighting for likelihood to vote, Labour has a narrow one-point lead, similar to recent research from other polling firms. The impact of the methodology is explained in more detail by UK Polling Report’s Anthony Wells in a useful blog post here.

The third place Liberal Democrats make one of their better showings since the election on 9 per cent in this poll, with UKIP continuing to struggle. But fundamentally this survey is in line with the very static picture of party support seen throughout this autumn – a surprising situation given the turmoil faced by Theresa May’s government, including two ministerial resignations and difficult negotiations over Brexit.

What may change the stable polling position is gathering gloom surrounding the British economy. The most interesting findings in Kantar’s survey relate to voters’ perceptions of both their own household finances and those of the nation. 37 per cent of those interviewed said they were ‘finding it harder to meet their household budget than 12 months ago’, up 10 percentage points since February. 35 per cent felt that ‘the economy in 12 months will be doing worse than it is now’, up from 28 per cent in February. With the Chancellor [Finance Minister] Philip Hammond due to present his Budget tomorrow, trends like these will concern the Conservative minority administration.


KANTAR TNS 21 November
Voting intentions, per cent
(unweighted totals in brackets):

Conservative Party (Con) 42 (38)
Labour Party (Lab) 38 (39)
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 9 (9)
UK Independence Party (UKIP) 5 (6)
Green Party 3 (4)
Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru (SNP/PC) 2 (2)
Others 1 (2)

Fieldwork: 14.11-20.11.2017. Release date: 21.11.2017. Participants: 2437. Method: Online poll, weighted for likelihood to vote. Full tables here.